To be honest, I don’t know what possessed me to read Dare You To. I wasn’t a massive fan of Pushing the Limits and the idea of a book focused on Beth, a character I couldn’t stand in the first book, wasn’t exactly appealing. Plus the suggestion that Beth would somehow ditch the sweet, caring Isaiah sounded awful. Combine that with the fact that people who did love Pushing the Limits didn’t love Dare You To, and I thought I would surely hate it. I wasn’t going to bother.
So don’t ask me how I ended up staying up until 2am reading this. I honestly can’t say how I started. Only that once I had, I couldn’t stop.
Dare You To is told from a dual perspective, like Pushing the Limits, only this time it’s about troubled Beth and baseball jock Ryan. The two meet at a fast food restaurant and don’t exactly hit it off. When Beth has to live with her uncle, a baseball superstar, Ryan is keen to get back into her good books – especially with a dare riding on a date with her.
You can totally see where this is going, right? But it doesn’t matter. Because getting there is so much fun. Having insight into Beth’s thoughts and motivations makes her a much more sympathetic and, dare I say, likable character. I understood why she’s awful to Echo. I understood why she treats Isaiah the way she does. And boy, did I understand why she likes Ryan.
Ryan is adorable. OK, he’s a bit of a douche to start with and does get a little possessive in a couple of instances, but it’s nowhere near as bad as Noah in Pushing the Limits, and Beth doesn’t exactly put up with it. There’s great chemistry between these two, and their budding relationship – and the complications that go along with it - feels quite realistic. There are some really sweet, not to mention totally hot, scenes, and I loved the fact that the usual tropes were reversed and Ryan was a virgin while Beth wasn’t. I am so over the pure, good girls being seduced by experienced, bad guys. It’s so not true to life and reinforces restrictive roles and screwed up expectations. It was really great to see something different here.
While I loved the romance, I really liked the other aspects of the plot, too, and appreciated that there was more going on in each character’s life. Perhaps because my husband is obsessed with baseball, I actually found myself enjoying that part of Ryan’s story, and I felt for his family situation, too. But of course, Beth’s story is much more dramatic and emotional. My heart broke for her, yet the terrible moments made the good ones that much sweeter.
In addition to liking the two leads, I adored the secondary characters in Dare You To. Ryan’s friends are great, and there are some very funny moments between them. I especially loved Lacy, Beth’s childhood friend and Ryan’s current friend. The way she accepts Beth back into her life and has her back in the end is so awesome. On Beth’s side, we see Noah and Echo make a few appearances, which is nice, even if I’m not their biggest fans, and Isaiah, oh Isaiah... I felt for him, but at the same time I was happy with the way things turned out. I’m looking forward to Isaiah hopefully (who am I kidding - definitely) getting his own happily ever after in Crash Into You.
So, despite thinking I would hate it, I actually really loved Dare You To. It was a page-turning, swoony, emotional ride. I’m so glad I went on it.
|Austin Butler as Ryan|
|Ksenia Solo as Beth|
|Bonus: Couple shot courtesy of Life Unexpected.|
Katie McGarry includes a playlist in the back of Dare You To, which I compiled here. It is a bit too country for my taste, but fits the book pretty well overall.
Published: 2013, Harlequin
Get It: Book Depository